“So put away… all deceit…”

1 Peter 2:1b

By Pastor Theo Siu

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of truth lately. I remember listening to a lecture by a college professor addressing some new students at the beginning of a fresh semester of coursework. In the midst of a busy semester, this professor took the time to teach his students a valuable lesson. “Don’t cheat!” he said. “You’ll hear a lot of reasons for this kind of principle. ‘You’re disrespecting your classmates who work hard, you won’t get a job if you don’t know the material, the professor of your class won’t like you if you do this.’ All of these things may or may not be true, but none of them are really great reasons why you shouldn’t cheat. The real reason is that if you start this early in your academic career to lie and cheat, you will inevitably be cheating for the rest of your time in university. Life only gets harder from here, and if you don’t develop the character necessary for living in light of the truth now, you’ll always be living in a lie.”

I can’t stop thinking about this principle. I recognize the impulse to cheat within myself. I know the temptation to lie about who I am in order to look good rather than face the harsh reality of myself and grow. Yet the more we lie, the harder it becomes to live in light of the truth.

Truth is humbling. Confronting the truth de-centers our own opinions and beliefs and forces us to contend with the realities we often don’t like to accept. I think so often many of us have grown accustomed to living within the matrix of delusions and lies that we don’t really see how fractured and contradictory we’ve become over the years.

Instead of admitting our weakness, we lie to others and force ourselves to believe that we are amazing and great because we don’t want the pain of seeing ourselves for who we really are. Instead of telling the truth about our struggles, we cheat and hide our messes from others, putting on a happy attitude, while at the same time degrading others who just can’t seem to hide and lie as well as we can.

It’s hard to live according to the truth. But the more I live and struggle to find my way in life, the more I’m convinced that it is far more painful to remain enslaved to a lie than to endure the burning, purifying light of reality.

In 1 Peter 1, the Apostle Peter admonishes Christians to live according to the truth revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter makes bold exhortations to Christians to “not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance” and “[h]aving purified your soul by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1Pe. 1:14, 22). For the Apostle, the Cross of Christ reveals something fundamentally true of all of us that we, blinded by our own sin, could not come to on our own.

First, the Cross of Christ reveals the true depths of our enslavement to sin. It’s a bit of a crazy thought to think about. Humanity isn’t simply a bit off balanced or a little unstable. As useful as self-help, therapy, politics, and structured living may be, ultimately the Cross reveals that none of these are sufficient to break the stronghold of lies over us. No, it took the death of the Son of God himself to set us free. What is justice? What is holiness? What is true love? Friend, you cannot see any of this aright until you see this displayed in the crucifixion of Christ. Only when we grasp the height, breadth, and depth of the mystery of Christ crucified for the satisfaction of divine justice and redemption of sinners can we truly see how far we are from the truth.

But secondly, the Cross of Christ reveals not only the depths of our depravity, it also displays powerfully the mystery of the divine character of God. He is far more holy than any of us could ever have imagined, and he is far more loving than any of us could have dreamed. He sent his Son to die for us. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Rom. 8:32). The good news of Jesus Christ and his life, death, and resurrection is that in Christ God has made all the provisions necessary for us, lost as we are in our own lies, to live in the true light of his kingdom.

It is because of the grandeur of this news that Peter exhorts his people to put off the deceit of this world, to no longer walk in our former ignorance. We’re not that great. We don’t have the power to live coherently in light of the truth on our own. But God is good. In Christ, God has shown himself to be for his people. He knows our weakness. He has seen our distress. And he has made all the provisions necessary for those who put on Christ to walk in his holiness and truth. Therefore, “[c]onduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1Pe. 1:17).

“So put away all malice…”

1 Peter 2:1a

By Pastoral Apprentice John Frick

Malice is the inward longing for something bad to happen to someone else, and even the actions of following through with those thoughts that can take form in slandering them, hurting someone physically, or publicly shaming them.

Those who opposed Christ were driven by malice (Mt. 22:18), yet such feelings were completely absent from him and should also now be from us.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness… (1Pe. 2:21-24).

You may be thinking that you are not nearly as malicious or evil as the people who put Christ on the Cross. But we are all prone to sin and Christ died for all of us because we could never atone for ourselves.

And now Christ our Lord desires us not to be malicious, but instead “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). However, if putting away malice (or any sin for that matter) was so easy, Peter would not be exhorting and reminding believers to do it and Christ would not have had to take our punishment on the Cross.

In our own lives we can so easily be entangled by malice towards the people we see making racist statements, shooting up a store, or even having a different political opinion. As Christians we should be outraged and mourn because of those who commit blatantly sinful acts against others or ourselves, but we must not repay evil for evil. Justice is ultimately meant to be left to God and not taken into our hands. We should call the cops and use the legal system at our disposal, but it doesn’t mean that our first response or knee jerk reaction should be wishing for the worst and hardest punishment on all who sin against us. We should desire justice to be carried out in our world today, but we must pursue justice the way Christ has laid it out for us.

Christ our Lord shows us so clearly in 1 Peter 2:21-24 that we have to take up his disposition and be patient to those who commit wrongs against us. If we begin to enact our own kind of retribution upon them, then we are not truly understanding what Christ means when he says to love our enemies and pray for them (Mt. 5:44).

When it comes to our context, we are not explicitly tortured like Christ or the Apostles. So then what does putting away malice look like for us?

In our lives it is so easy for us to get frustrated and wish for bad things to happen to the people who “don’t know how to drive,” that manager at work who micromanages, or even that person or family member who yelled at you over something small.

The catch here is that despite all the ways these people may have wronged you or someone else, we are still called not to repay yelling for yelling, micromanaging with snide remarks or slander, or muttering some colorful words under your breath about the other driver. We are called to be patient and understanding with all people (cf. James 1:19-22).

To put off malice must mean to ultimately trust that our heavenly Father will judge the wicked and that it is not our job/role to take vengeance into our own hands. Even if we have been wronged, we are called to be forgiving and patient and longsuffering like our Lord.

Brothers and sisters, during this week let us seek to put off malice by reminding ourselves of Christ’s patience, grace, and forgiveness towards us. As saints the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and works in us, but we must submit ourselves to God’s Word daily in order to put off sin and serve him. Start today by submitting to God’s Word and putting off your malice.

PRELUDE – “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” by Jonny Cash


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
    my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness

Let’s stand and worship the Lord


All Creatures of Our God and King” by Jonathan Baird, Ryan Baird, St. Francis of Assisi, and William Henry Draper

CONFESSION OF SIN – Mark 1:14-15

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, 

proclaiming the gospel of God,  and saying, 

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;

 repent and believe in the gospel.”

With the arrival of Jesus the promised king, all people are now exhorted to repent of their sinful ways and turn to trust in Christ for their sole hope of salvation.

Let’s take a moment to repent of our own sins fully entrusting ourselves to Christ alone. 

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 Corinthians 6:11

But you were washed, 

you were sanctified, 

you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 

and by the Spirit of our God.


Wonderful, Merciful, Savior” by Dawn Rogers and Eric Wyse

You Are My King (Amazing Love)” by Billy J. Foote


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; 

who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; 

suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; 

He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; 

He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints; 

the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. 


PRAYER have people sit

SCRIPTURE READING – Matthew 26:47-56 have people stand for the reading. End with “This is the word of the Lord.” 

SERMON – “Put Away Your Sword”


I Stand Amazed in the Presence” by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel



 “Sing to the King” by Billy Foote



POSTLUDE— “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” by Joshua Moore and Sandra McCracken

PRELUDE – “Soon and Very Soon” by Andrae Crouch

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Revelations 19:6-7

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.

Let’s stand and worship the Lord together.


No One Higher” by Heath Balltzglier, Seth Condrey, and Steve Fee

CONFESSION OF SIN – Exodus 19:9-14

And the Lord said to Moses,

“Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud,

that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” 

When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, the Lord said to Moses,

“Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow,

and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day.

For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai

in the sight of all the people.

And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying,

‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it.

Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death.

No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot;

whether beast or man, he shall not live.’

When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.”

So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people;

and they washed their garments.

In light of the holiness of God,

let’s take a moment to prepare our hearts to meet the Lord by confessing and repenting of our sins of the week. 

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 3:21-26

 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—

 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. 

For there is no distinction: 

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified by his grace as a gift, 

through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. 

This was to show God’s righteousness, 

because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

It was to show his righteousness at the present time, 

so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” by Matt Boswell, Matt Papa, and Michael Bleecker

Worthy Worthy” by Jacob Sooter and Mia Fieldes


SCRIPTURE READING – Zechariah 5:1-6:8 

SERMON – “A Flying Scroll, a Woman in a Basket, and Four Chariots”


It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Gates Spafford and Philip Paul Bliss



Oh Victory in Jesus” by Eugene Monroe Bartlett



POSTLUDE— “All Glory Be to Christ” by Dustin Kensrue

PRELUDE – “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” by John Newton

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – 2 Samuel 22:47-50

“The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
    and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
the God who gave me vengeance
    and brought down peoples under me,
who brought me out from my enemies;
    you exalted me above those who rose against me;
    you delivered me from men of violence.

“For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
    and sing praises to your name.

Let’s stand and worship the Lord together. 


How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves

CONFESSION OF SIN – Luke 12:16-21

And he told them a parable, saying,

“The land of a rich man produced plentifully,

and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do,

for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones,

and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’

But God said to him,

‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you,

and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Let’s repent of the ways we rely on our own resources for our comfort rather than relying on the mercies of our Lord.


“But the tax collector stood at a distance.

He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said,

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled,

and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Just as the tax collector returned home justified, we too can know that we have been set right before God when we humble ourselves and ask for his mercy.


Give us Clean Hands” by Charlie Hall

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” by CJonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, and Michael Farren


SCRIPTURE READING –Zechariah 4:1-14 

SERMON – “The Day of Small Things”


Rock of Ages” by Augustus Toplady



Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa M. R. Stead and William James Kirkpatrick



POSTLUDE— “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” by Joshua Moore and Sandra McCracken

PRELUDE – “No Longer Slaves” by Brian Johnson, Joel Case, and Jonathan David Helser

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Hebrews 4:14-16

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 

For we do not have a high priest 

who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 

but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, 

that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Jesus, My Only Hope” by Mark Altrogge


Father in heaven, we thank you for the freedom you have given us through the life, death and resurrection of your Son.

 But we confess today that we often live like slaves. 

Instead of living like you delight in us, we avoid you in shame and guilt. 

Instead of receiving your favor as a gift, we try to earn it with our efforts. 

Instead of accepting your freedom, we prefer our chains. 

Instead of pursuing your purposes, we cling to our short-sighted agendas. 

Forgive us. Embrace us. Cleanse us. Heal us. 

We ask this in Jesus name. 


ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 8:34-39

Who is to condemn? 

Christ Jesus is the one who died

—more than that, who was raised—

who is at the right hand of God, 

who indeed is interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? 

Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, 

or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, 

nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, 

nor anything else in all creation, 

will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Lees Bancroft and Vikki Cook

He Will Hold Me Fast” by Ada Ruth Habershon and Matthew Merker


SCRIPTURE READING – Zechariah 3:1-10 

SERMON (Nathan) – “The Priest With Dirty Clothes”


Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry



Promises” by Maverick City Music



POSTLUDE— “Now Why This Fear?” by Augustus Toplady and Doug Plank

PRELUDE – “Let Everything That Has Breath” by Matt Redman


I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Let’s stand and recount the Lord’s goodness together in our worship. 


Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

CONFESSION OF SIN – Matthew 6:30-33

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, 

which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, 

will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 

‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, 

and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, 

and all these things will be added to you.

Let’s take a moment and repent for the ways we fall into anxiety and do not trust our Heavenly Father to provide for his children. 

ASSURANCE OF PARDON –1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

For God has not destined us for wrath,

but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.


Come Thou Fountof Every Blessing” by John Wyeth and Robert Robinson

Promises” by Maverick City Music


SCRIPTURE READING – Jeremiah 1:1-19 



Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend      



Jesus Strong and Kind” by CityAlight



POSTLUDE— “God is for Us” by CityAlight

PRELUDE – “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent” by Ralph Vaughan Williams

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Deut. 32:10-12

(The Lord) found him in a desert land,
    and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
    he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
    that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him,
    no foreign god was with him.


Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Thomas Obediah Chisholm and William Marion Runyan

CONFESSION OF SIN – Neh. 9:17-21

But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, 

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. 

Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, 

‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ 

and had committed great blasphemies, 

you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. 

The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, 

nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go.  

You gave your good Spirit to instruct them 

and did not withhold your manna from their mouth 

and gave them water for their thirst.

Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. 

Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.


But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, 

much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.


 “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” by John Newton and Laura Taylor

 “O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

PRAYER Be seated

SCRIPTURE READING – Zechariah 2:1-13  

SERMON (Nathan) – “The Apple of God’s Eye”


Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen Lemmel        

LORD’S TABLE (Nathan) – 


God Of This City” by Chris Tomlin



POSTLUDE— “How Firm a Foundation” by Unknown

PRELUDE – “Walk on by Faith” by Mahalia Jackson

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 148:13-14

Praise the name of the Lord,

for his name alone is exalted;

his majesty is above earth and heaven.

He has raised up a horn for his people…

Praise the Lord!

Song –

Unchanging” by Chris Tomlin

CONFESSION OF SIN – Psalm 79:8-9


Do not remember against us our former iniquities;

let your compassion come speedily to meet us,

for we are brought very low.

Help us, O God of our salvation,

for the glory of your name;

deliver us, and atone for our sins,

for your name’s sake!


This is love:

not that we loved God,

but that he loved us

and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Songs –

Lord I Need You” by Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, and Matt Maher

He Will Hold Me Fast” by Ada Ruth Habershon and Matthew Merker


SCRIPTURE READING – Zechariah 1:7-21

SERMON – “A Little Faith”

Song –

Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend


Song –

Let Your Kingdom Come” by Bob Kauflin



POSTLUDE – “By Faith” by Keith & Kristyn Getty

PRELUDE – “Oh Great God, Give Us Rest” by David Crowder Band


Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 

Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 

but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, 

that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


 “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman


Let’s confess our sins together using this prayer. Please read the bolded verses aloud.

Minister: Blessed Jesus,
you offered us all your blessings when you announced
Blessed are the poor in spirit
People: but we have been rich in pride.
Minister: Blessed are those who mourn
People: but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.
Minister: Blessed are the meek
People: but we are a stiff-necked people.
Minister: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
People: but we are filled to the full with other things.
Minister: Blessed are the merciful”
People: but we are harsh and impatient.
Minister: Blessed are the pure in heart
People: but we have impure hearts.
Minister: Blessed are the peacemakers
People: but we have not sought reconciliation.
Minister: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness
People: but our lives do not challenge the world.
Minister: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me
People: but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.
Minister: Your Law is holy and your benedictions are perfect,
but they are both too great for us.
You alone are blessed.
People: We plead with you to forgive our sins
and give us the blessing of your righteousness.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Psalm 103:8-12

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.


To The Cross I Cling” by Isaac Wimberley, Matt Boswell, and Michael Bleecker

Your Name” by Paul Baloche

PRAYER Be Seated

Affirmation of Faith —Article 1 of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith

Let’s confess our common faith together using first article of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith.

I. Of the Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter, that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union , and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.

SCRIPTURE READING – Zechariah 1:1-6 Please stand for the reading of God’s Word. Please respond with, “Thanks be to God.”

SERMON – “Return To Me”


In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend           



Sing to the King” by Billy Foote


ANNOUNCEMENTS POSTLUDE— “At The Table” by Josh Garrels

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter